Scott Hanselman wrote an excellent piece on App geo-location data. If there’s a nobel prize for writing blog titles, he would win it.

The piece is entitled:

It’s 2012 and your kids have an iPhone – Do you know where they are? I do.

Admiration aside, yes, you’re living through one of the greatest rises of applied Geographic Information Systems (GIS), ever.

It’s bigger than the launching of the first weather satellite. Or LandSat. This time, it’s millions of people equipped with sensors. And they’re doing the sensing.

Many apps use geo-location data as a function of what they do, of varying utility, for the user:

  • There are traffic congestion apps that rely on applied GIS – to crowdsource intelligence around traffic and accidents. 
  • Starwalk uses GIS to put the stars in the right context.
  • FourSquare is a GIS check-in game that’s monetizing through coupons.

People are doing interesting things by combining GIS with Social. And it’s really just the begining.

And, to be sure, you should be aware of that you’re trading your location to the App developer (and most likely third parties, since GIS is a niche), in exchange for a utility.

Can a 13-year old possibly consent? Parental locks and control is absolutely essential, especially as the technology ramps up and developers become more inventive.

All disruptive technologies generate externalities, especially when they meet an apathetic or uninformed population. Don’t be either.